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This is a film only review of this movie based on the book by Michael Lewis.
Michael Oher (Big Mike) is a young man from the wrong side of the tracks. With a mother thats on drugs and him homeless he gets taken in by a Christian school although he's not intelluctual he is good at anything with a ball, particulary baseball. However he bums around sleeping where he can, until he meets a young boy SJ in the playground at school and so when SJ is returning home from school one evening with his mum Leigh-ann and dad Sean and they spot Big Mike walking in the rain, soaked and cold and they stop to ask where he is going and he replies school gym Leigh Anns conscience gets the best of her and she gets her husband to turn back round to fetch Mike as she at that moment realises he is homeless and as a wealthy mother of two she may be able to help him.
He stays there the night on the couch, next day hes tidied up and he's off but Leigh Ann clocks this and chases after him. Before long Mike is like part of the family with his quiet unasumming ways. He's not great with people, isn't great in school and alot of people would have wrote him off as a bit thick but not the straight talking feisty Leigh Ann who treats him as a son.
Like I stated earlier Mick (doesn't like being called Big!) is good at ball sports, particulary American football and when given the chance to play at school, at first bombs. He knows how to plant the ball in a net but not how to block and its Leigh Ann that finds out then when he was scored on mental abilities he came out glowing about protection but not in any other area and she uses this to her advantage, gives him a pep talk and soon he's not only playing but he's excelling! Before we know it Mike is incredibly popular and all the local universitys and colleges want him to study there and play for them but theres a big problem he has to make grades to be accepted and being sporty isn't enough to which he gets a home tutor called Miss Sue who is determined to get him there with the help of the family!
But can Mike learn and is there a way forward of getting him to where he wants to go? Also Leigh Ann wants to become his legal guardian and so she can call him her son officially but hes coming up for 18 and can they?
Ok this is a slow to burn film. There is no action or sort of main bits within it and it plods along at a steady pace. The verdict is still out for me though whether Sanda Bullock as Leigh Ann was the best person for this role though saying that I'm not really a fan of hers anyway and think she has a hard edge to her however there were very tender moments in this film, again subtly done that make you think about what makes a family and that do we always do our best for people?
It was nice to see mikes life as it was before he met the family with us being shown his mother and past friends where he grew up and made us appreciate what his life had been like and how much he had come on and me, I was willing Mike to do well in the end.
SJ and Mikes friendship was like little and large with Sj being a small boy of about 10 or 11 and Mike being about 30 odd stone an 17 years old but this friendship and brother like love really stood out for me and even the daughter of the family, Collins had a warmth to her.
All in all this is a great heartwarming film. I knew what the outcome was going to be and was happy it worked out the way I hoped it had. Lovely film and very worth a watch!
This review is also posted on Ciao under this same username.
Like the God-fearing, gun-toting offspring of Uncle Sam and the Statue of Liberty, this film is all-American - in the most pejorative sense. It's schmaltzy, clichéd, patronising and predictable. That it got near the Academy Awards is surprising, that it won (for Sandra Bullock's portrayal of herself, with Forrest Gump's accent) beggars belief.
And yet ... it's not a bad film. The way the film is made may be sickly-sweet, and it may be populated by one too many irritating characters, but the underlying story is an interesting one. Based on a 2006 book - itself drawing inspiration from the protagonist's real-life story, The Blind Side tells the rags-to-riches tale of Michael Oher, a boy who came from obscurity and a tough upbringing to become one of the most valuable American footballers in the game.
In itself, it's not a unique story - the twist that sets it apart is Oher's adoption by white middle-class couple Leigh-Anne and Sean Tuohy, who oversee a transformation in his performance at school that allows him to aspire to college football. I'm not sure reality unfolded quite as smoothly and sweetly as it does here - but it is an engaging story.
Despite Sandra Bullock's Oscar-winning turn as Leigh-Anne Tuohy, it's Quinton Aaron's performance that makes the film. Physically, he's perfect as Oher, matching up to his six-foot-four frame capably - but it's in showing the internal side of the character that he really shines. He's a softly-spoken fractured giant who only occasionally slips into caricature - and that's most probably the director's doing. There are characters here who don't ring true, but it's Aaron's efforts that should be lauded.
Less fun is the kid playing the Tuohys' son, SJ - the worst kind of child actor, he's precocious, smart-arsed and talks like he's twenty-five. Above all, he's annoying, and his scenes can really grate. I'm sure he's a decent actor, but he's badly written and it jars.
Gripes with this and the clichéd storytelling aside, this is an enjoyable, untaxing choice for a rental - I'm not sure I'd want to watch it again, but it was inoffensive entertainment for ninety minutes. Ninety minutes is a good length too - there's the frightening potential for a sprawling biopic here, but it's wisely kept down to a thoroughly digestible length, doing what it needs to do to involve the viewer without outstaying its welcome.
There is a slightly uncomfortable edge to things that runs alongside the play-it-by-numbers underdog story; in its portrayal of the black community of the Deep South, there seems to be no grey. You've either got the nasty black guys who live in the projects that Michael hailed from, or the nice-but-not-so-bright black guys like the main man himself and, er ... well ... just him, actually. At its best, this feel patronising. That said, everyone's a bit simplistic in this film, if not simple. Sandra Bullock's fine-to-good, playing the determined family matriarch who takes Michael under her wing, and everyone else is okay, never really pushing themselves in such dangerous territories as nuance or ambiguity.
So all in all, it's fine. Occasionally good. An Oscar-winner? Not for me, but it has its moments.
"The Blind Side" is a 2009 Semi-Autobiographical drama directed by John Lee Hancock, it stars Sandra Bullock, Quinton Aaron, Tim McGraw, Jae Head and Kathy Bates.
17 year old Memphis resident Michael Oher ( Quinton Aaron ) has spent most of his life in foster care, always referred to as "Big Mike" due to his stature he is the product of a poor upbringing with a drug addict mother and non-existent father, a friends father asks the coach of Wingate Christian School to enroll him as its the christian thing to do.
Mike is enrolled but struggles at the beginning, a couple of the teachers take an interest in him, but its hard as he is still living on the streets sometimes, then one evening while driving home Wealthy businessman Sean Tuohy ( Tim McGraw ) and his wife Leigh Anne ( Sandra Bullock ) notice Mike walking by the side of the road, Leigh Anne suspects that he doesn't have anywhere to go and does the christian thing and welcome him into their home.
Slowly Mike begins to feel like one of the family, and very soon his talents begin to shine, not only academically but also with some nurturing he shows his promise as an College football player, and slowly we see the story unfold of how he ended up playing for the Baltimore Ravens of the NFL and his remarkable story .
I had a vague idea of the storyline of the Blind Side but after watching it I can't help but want to know more about the real Michael Oher, if there's ever a feel good story of triumph against adversity then this would be it.
The Blind Side's biggest positive besides the remarkable subject matter is its cast, everyone does an amazing job in their roles, notably Quinton Aaron as the young Michael Oher and in particular Sandra Bullock is amazing as Leigh Anne Tuohy, she portrays Leigh Anne much like I would imagine she really would be, very strong willed and opinionated but with a very soft centre and a good heart, something she would have had to be to open her home to a complete stranger such as Oher.
Yes there is a shmaltz factor about it and yes alot of people know how the movie turns out, but thats not the point, this is a human interest story thats designed to make the viewer feel good and tug at the heart strings, it certainly worked for me as if you don't believe there is good in the world, then Leigh Anne Tuohy should help restore that faith a little bit.
If you need your spirits lifted, if you need a moral uplifting then you NEED to watch the Blind Side, if you're cynical and don't want to watch something that is admittedly predictable and a little soppy then maybe you should watch something else, but the Blind Side surely sits on my recommended list
Recently I've gotten into a bit of a habit of watching some stupid films that have little meaning and actually 70% are some kind of Horror film or another, so I decided to take a step in a different direction for once and watch a film which sounded as though it had a very moving and meaningful storyline.
The Blind Side tells the Story of Michael Oher otherwise known as Big Mike who has had a traumatic life and is now homeless. Straight away the viewer gets a real feel for how bad this poor boy's situation is - he is sleeping wherever he can find any warmth, he is wearing the same clothes everyday and having to wash them by hand in a sink at a Laundromat ... you get the immediate impression that Michael's life isn't going to get any better and that the poor thing will continue to live like that with very few reasons to live, it is really very sad.
Then a teacher at a local Sports College for rich and rather snooty people, sees some potential in Michael and believes that one day he could be a great Football player. So the teacher then has the difficult task of persuading the other teaching staff to let Michael attend the prestigious school. Once in the school, Michael isn't allowed to play any Sport until he can get his basic education off the ground and prove that he does have the ability to learn - which doesn't start off so well and people start to lose the faith that they had in him. But then the real hero of the film steps in and that is Leigh Anne Tuohy played by Sandra Bullock. She is a mother whose kids also attend the school, very well off and living in a mansion of a house she takes Michael under her wing, at first with just the intention of giving him some food and shelter for a little while. But in time Leigh Anne starts to change Michael's life and as the viewer you begin to love her character for the simple fact that she could have easily been stuck up and turned a blind eye to Michael's situation like the other parents, but instead she took on the hard job of giving this boy a better life.
There are several moving scenes throughout this film and plenty of oppurtunities to connect with the characters feelings. The acting is pretty much outstanding which makes the film all the more better. I do have to say though that at the beginning of the film, I did find Sandra Bullock's characters accent really annoying and it took me a while to get used to. But she did win an Oscar for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role for this movie - so she couldn't have been that bad! The movie was played out very well and the fact that it is also a true story makes you want to watch the film through to the end, to find out Michael's fate.
The Blind Side is an excellent movie, I first heard about this while watching a Baltimore Ravens NFL game where they kept plugging that the rookie left tackle had a film out about his life. My first thoughts were he was a rookie how can he have a life story at such a young age, however I was intrigued and decided I would see the movie when it aired in the UK.
This isn't the first movie of its type, however I haven't seen any better, each character plays their role to perfection, you end up really routing for 'Big Mike' and you love little SJ....
This is one of the few films that are actually better than the book as it concentrates on the life story in more detail and it becomes clear how big a struggle it can be for people from poorer backgrounds to make it into sports. For once the movie doesnt seem to exagerate the actual true facts of the events which is a refreshing change!!!
This is a fairly well worn story and having recently watched the brilliant documentary about the life of Mike Tyson, I was caught at the similarity in the stories, although I actually believe that a decent film about the life of Iron Mike would be much more interesting than this, even though this film has been highly decorated with honours over the last 2 years.
The basis story is about Michael 'Big Mike' Oher, a young kid in the projects who looks after himself as his mum is a drug addict and he has no father. He lucks out in being asked to join a private school when a coach spots his athletic ability for such a big man, but after that he struggles, his education levels are weak, he doesn't want to go home and is shy and introverted, so he spends his nights sleeping where he can and his days not really achieving anything at school.
One day after a school event, in the pouring rain a family, Leigh Anne and Sean Tuohy offer to give Big Mike a lift home. When they realise he has no home to speak of, they offer him a bed for the night and food and warmth, after this, Leigh Anne visits the mother and realises that the area and the mother are destructive rather than constructive parts of the boys life and persuades Sean and her family that they should take Mike in as a family member and help him.
As Leigh Anne gets to know the young man, she realises he is very protective of those he cares about and the family relationship strengthens and deepens. Eventually Leigh Anne introduces Big Mike to (American) football and after a slow start, he proves to be somewhat able in this area.
The film is based on a true story and Michael Oher went on to become a professional American Footballer and a very famous one at that.
I wanted to see this as it had a lot of Oscar hype and I wanted to prove that Sandra Bullock hadn't become a bad actress after the appalling 'Something about Steve'. Thankfully she hasn't, the film is really about believing in others and not giving up on them, it is also about love, trust and family.
I thought this was a nice film, but I really didn't think it was a great film, there are a couple of excellent performances and it is enjoyable from start to finish, but it didn't live up to the publicity in many ways, also for an American audience the appearance of a number of (real) American football coaches possibly meant something, but to me the appearance at various points seemed a bit forced and unnatural, also I really didn't like the youngest son in the story, I found him annoying and felt he took up way too much of the story. I liked Bullock's character who was a nice mix of determination and sensitivity but I do doubt some of the things in this story happened the way it was shown.
I did feel the American football scenes were a bit unreal too, perhaps they happened but after one game, being picked up by a number of scouts seems slightly surreal, nonetheless it helps the story head towards a satisfying conclusion with an interesting kick just before the end.
The film is well made and enjoyable to watch, I found the acting was well done and the story flows, but at times seemed a little too easy and obvious to be real. Also I found the American football scenes a bit silly, they played like the old Goldie Hawn film Wildcats, where it just seemed that as soon as this giant of a man was riled he would change the course of the game and his life, it was too obvious and there must have been some artistic licence in this otherwise it seems a strange introduction to the game for a future NFL star.
Sandra Bullock is very good as the mother, I enjoyed her performance, but I was shocked that she was Oscar nominated for this, it is a nice film and she mixes a kind heart and hard head perfectly, but it wasn't comparable to some of the performances I saw last year. There are moments where she is exceptional and others where it just seems a bit caricatured.
I also really liked country singer Tim McGraw who plays Sean. I thought he was really personable in the role and played the balance to Bullocks pushy mum perfectly, his was a pleasant understated performance which really showed how loving the family really were. and young Lily Collins is also very good as their daughter. The star of the film is undoubtedly Quinton Aaron as Big Mike, every scene he is in has an added element, he has presence, even when saying nothing and some of his scenes were incredibly sad and realistic. His performance is excellent from the scenes where he is alone and scared to those where he starts to open up to people and they realise how awful his life has been, he never overplays anything and this is rewarding for the viewer. Kathy Bates pops in close to the end as a teacher employed to help him hit his grades and she is excellent also. The only bad acting points are the appearances of the coaches who seem to showboat a bit and the little kid who you really want 'Big Mike' to sit on and shut up at many points during the film, the scenes where he interviews the coaches is silly and a bit embarrassing.
The DVD is available for £4.96 on Amazon and includes interviews with the stars of the film and the real family portrayed in the picture. It's a decent film, it is a bit of a tv movie, but it pulls the heartstrings in all the right places and offers a positive and inspiring story of how helping others can prove to be a truly rewarding experience.
I am sure many people have now heard of this film especially after the award win for Sandra Bullock who won an Oscar for best actress for her role in this. The film also received an Oscar nomination for best picture. I like to watch sports films anyway so this was definitely something I had been keen to see after hearing some good things about it. It was released towards the end of 2009. I would say most of the cast in this film is pretty unknown apart from Bullock. Tim Mcgraw who is also a country singer plays one of the other main roles. The film is based on the book, The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game by Michael Lewis. The film is based on the real life story of Michael Oher who now plays in the NFL (National Football League) in America as a left tackle. The name blind side comes from the left tackle position whose " job is to protect the quarterback from what he can't see coming. To protect his blind side. " I am not really an NFL fan but the most important position in NFL is the quarterback who directs the team's offensive play. There has been an increased role and importance placed in the game on left tackles who have tended to become the second most important players in the game.
Michael "Big Mike" Oher hasn't had the most helpful start in life. He has no idea who his father is and his mother is a drug addict. He also has very little in the terms of a formal education. Big Mike is a gentle giant who is living on the streets. He is given a probationary place at a school which seems to be mainly for rich white kids because of his clear skills when it comes to ball games. One evening he is seen by the Tuhoys who are driving home from a Church thanksgiving service. They decide to invite Michael into their home where he stays and is helped to develop both his football skills and also gain an education.
This is a feel good movie which covers a few issues which include those about race, football and family. The acting in the film is very good. The role of Michael Oher is played well by relative newcomer Quinton Aaron who was playing his frst lead role in a film. He plays the role effectively showing the quiet and well mannered nature of the character he plays. Sandra Bullock does steal the show in her role but there are also other good performances. Jae Head, who plays the Tuohy's youngest son S.J. is also fun and energetic and adds life to some of the scenes. It is serious at times but also has funny moments. It seems to be slightly dramatised and is also a little cheesy in nature. Overall though it is very watchable and I would give it 4/5 stars.
Directed by: John Lee Hancock
Produced by: Broderick Johnson
Screenplay by: John Lee Hancock
Story by: Michael Lewis
Release date(s): November 20, 2009
Running time: 129 minutes
Big Mike, Michael Oher, has had a hard childhood, his mother is on drugs and he is now homeless. Fortunately Mike has started a new school and shows some potential. When he is out walking in the rain he is spotted by Leigh Anne, the mother of another pupil at the school and when she realises he has no home she invites him back to their home for the night.
Leigh Anne and her family are very well off and she thinks nothing of helping Mike and trying to find out about his past. Mike reveals to her that he hates being called big mike so the family make it known that he is now called Michael. Before long Michael has become part of their family and he is showing improved work at school. Leigh Anne thinks that Michael would make a good football player due to his size so pushes to get him onto the team. Michael has to improve his school work before this can happen though.
Can Michael make the team and just how much change and impact will Michael and Leigh Anne have on each others lives?
I have wanted to see this film quite some time now and I am so glad that I finally got to watch it as both me and hubby loved it. The story was excellent and only made better by the fact it was a true story, I did not know this until the end of the film when we got told this and we actually got to see photos of the real Michael, Leigh Anne and her family. The fact that this is a true story made it more special to me and made me feel stronger and more emotional about what I had just watched. I am glad that I did not know that it was true when watching as I think there were times when I would have been reduced to tears.
The acting was just as strong as the story and the lead role of Michael was played by Quinton Aaron. He was amazing ad came across so well, I found him to be shy and very downtrodden at the start of the film and I loved seeing him come out of his shell and move on with his life as the story moved forward but there was always a side to him where he would keep things locked away. The way he showed emotions was good as he tried hard not to and I felt this was very true to life. He looked good, although a lot larger than other children of his age and I loved the fashion he chose for himself. There was a lovely tender chemistry between him and the other actors and this was strongest with the role of Leigh Anne. Leigh Anne was played by Sandra Bullock and this has to be the best film I have see her in for some time. She did come across as slightly stuck up at the start of the film but it was lovely to see how she changed during the story. She was strong and determined and I found great strength and warmth from watching her. The one thing I did not like about her was the accent. The other stand out role in the film for me was young SJ, he was played by Jae Head. He was strong and confident and he struck up a great friendship and bond with Michael. I found he also managed to bring a small amount of fun and humour to the story.
The setting for the film was good and it was only set a few years ago so everything looked up to date and modern, no real effort was needed for the costumes or sets and props and they all did look very good and fitted well with the theme of the story. We did get a lot of shots on the football field and I did enjoy seeing these despite not being a fan as they were quite fast paced and rough compared to the soft and dramatic storyline. We had a good soundtrack although it was not very memorable it did help with the emotions of what we were being shown.
During the film we did get to see a few flashback from Michael and his time with his family, I did find them quite hard and sad to watch at times but they added drama and background to Michael so they were needed. There were some very sad parts of the film, don't get me wrong it is not a weepy film with sad endings but as I am a mother I just found parts hard to watch, so I do advise caution for soft people or mothers when watching.
Without giving away any spoilers the credits to the film are excellent and well worth watching as they are packed with photographs of the real Michael and Leigh Anne and for both me and hubby they were a wonderful inclusion and made for the perfect ending to such a good and powerful film.
The DVD which we have does have a bonus feature of additional scenes but I have not watched these so cannot comment on them, they are standard on the DVD so you will not have to pay extra to get them. The DVD is available at most shops for around £7 and I do think this is a great price. The running time is 123 minutes and the rate is a 12.
I am pleased to be giving this film an excellent recommendation and the full 5 stars. The story is powerful and true and the acting is spot on. This is definitely a film worth 2 hours of anyone's time. Moving, powerful and heart warming all rolled into one.
As soon as I seen this film had Sandra Bullock in I knew I had to watch this film I think she is an amazing actress. The blind side was released in 2009 and directed by John Lee Hancock it is based on a true story its a very emotional story. The story is set in Tennessee and based around Michael Oher he obviously has a troubled background but all is not clear at the start of the film. He has to go to school but doesn't want to learn that is until he meets Leigh Ann Tuohy (Sandra Bullock)who takes him in and gives him a place to stay and for once a real family. The film shows how he succeeds in school and life and and how anything is possible.
This story was very heart warming I thought Quinton Aaron was great in his role as big mike he really made you feel for the troubled life he'd had. I cant believe this story is true I think its great that Sandra Bullocks character takes him in and changes his life around. At the end of the film during the credits it does actually show you pictures of the real family this happened to, and after seeing the pictures I think they did a great job at the casting of this film.
This film is a certificate PG-13 for scenes involving brief violence drug and sexual references. I do think this film would be suitable for children though if they were interested in it as it has a very good morale to the story.
Thank you for reading my review.
The Blind Side is a film which charts the story of Michael Oher, an offensive tackle in American football. Michael now plays for the Baltimore Raven's but this story is really about his adoptive parents Sean and Leigh Anne Tuohy, the Tuohy's a rich and prosperous middle aged white family and Michael a giant black teenager from the wrong part of town. Michael manages to get a studentship to a Christian school based on his huge size but he is introverted and lacking in social skills. Also at the school are the children of Sean and Leigh Anne and one night they spot the huge teenager walking aimlessly far from town, they realise he's homeless and destitute and decide to take him in.
Quinton Aaron plays big Mike, Sandra Bullock plays Leigh Anne and Tim McGraw plays Sean. Through their eyes we chart the phenomenal passion Michael shows for playing ball and improving his grades so he can get a university scholarship.
These films which Hollywood loves to make follow very straight protocols, those which feature sports have to have plenty of sporting clips with usually chances for motivational words or moments of high tension to give a film a series of pivotal moments. To be fair to this film, it doesn't lean on this as much as others and in many ways the scenes on the football field have a lighter comic edge than serious life changing moments. This is largely down to Quinton's use of his size, facial expression and general comic timing to make the scenes enjoyable rather than cringe worthy, yes you know there are going to be those Leigh Anne setting the world to right moments but all in all it's not overdone. This is good because I watched this film with my wife who has no idea about American football so anything complex and challenging would certainly lose a huge proportion of the viewers in the UK.
There is a danger in these films to make them appear as though black sporting success only comes around through white rich paternalism. The film does seem to go in that direction but it just redeems itself with strong performances from Quinton, Sandra and Tim. The fact that Sandra Bullock won an Oscar for her portrayal does baffle me somewhat, ok she's decent enough but I don't think it's a performance which in five years time I'll particularly remember and has the feel of Tom Hanks winning in Philadelphia, i.e., if you do enough films eventually you'll get a gong. For me, Quinton as Michael is the stand out performance in the film, perhaps he didn't have a white well off family to make sure he gets what he deserves!!
This is largely a sugar coated exploration of a young man's determination to succeed, the decency of a well of family to bring out the best in a desperate young man and never misses the chance to make sure we recognise the qualities of both Michael and the Touhy's. The director and writer John Lee Hancock gives a Hollywood gloss on the harshness of Michaels life, we get the obligatory black ghetto shots with hoodlums in white T-shirts and chewing a toothpick. There is a need for a bit of grittiness and edge but we get shots of Sandra Bullock in a tight skirt, then we get shots of her in another tight skirt, ok we get the point she's got a damn fine rear for a women in her forties. Where are the hardlines which all life has? Even car crashes have a positive output and eventually Quinton's stoic silences and slow delivery moves away from engaging and become monotonous.
Well it's a decent heart warming film with a decent story which you know is true, yes it's a wee bit sugar coated and could have done with a bit of earthiness and reality thrown in but the performances are solid making the film enjoyable. The film has a bit of a tendency to give us the new view on sport from the American perspective, since professional sport is largely black dominated we now get films showing that their success is largely down to white middle class Americans decency and charity so when a huge black teenager is feted by a range of universities we are asked to support the line that it's the charity of the Tuohy's and not the abilities of Michael which got us to this point. A fair assessment or a bit of a left wing soft socialism? I suspect that if you try to recall this film in 5 years time would it be a surprise to remember it contained an Oscar winning performance?
Michael Oher is a boy who struggles to fit in anywhere. He doesn't live with his parents, but instead in any place warm he can lay his head, along with the few belongings he has to his name. When he's walking home in the rain, the Tuohy family pass him by in the car until something changes in Leigh-Anne and tells her husband to stop the car and give Michael a lift home. Michael quickly becomes a pretty permanent feature at the Tuohy household, and with the help of Leigh-Anne, her husband Sean and their children Collins and SJ, Michael begins to feel like he belongs to a family. Soon his skills as a football player (helped a lot by his enormous size!) become apparent, and Michael has a huge choice at his confused hands - which school does he go to should he get the scholarship? Will Michael finally find the acceptance he needs with the Touhy's and what exactly will he gain from their love and encouragement?
I have been meaning to watch this film for absolutely ages, but somehow haven't managed to yet get around to it. Finally, Lovefilm sent it to my from my list and I eagerly sat down to watch it last night once I'd got Harry to bed. I am a huge Sandra Bullock fan, and the fact that she has finally won an Oscar for her role in this film (an honour I think she has deserved much earlier in her career) certainly makes this one to watch, even though I hadn't really heard of anybody else in the cast.
The film begins with an interrogation of Michael by a woman, and this for me makes the start interesting because it certainly isn't how I expected it to start out. We don't know what Michael is being interrogated about, or even why he is being interrogated so it makes the viewer curious to find out what has happened in Michael's life to cause this situation. After a few minutes of this, we cut back to Michael's earlier life, before he met Leigh-Anne and we see that he doesn't fit in anywhere, he's very quiet and no accepted at school or anywhere he goes. He's very quiet and introverted, so we can't get to know him properly, and therefore we have to rely on the film to get moving and open him up more.
This is where the character of Leigh-Anne Tuohy comes in. She is part of a very wealthy family who owns a chain of burger joints, and they really do want for nothing. She is well turned out and caring of her appearance, yet we're about to find out that Leigh-Anne has a heart of gold. She can't see Michael walk home in the rain, and instead takes him home to her home, despite not knowing anything about "Big Mike" herself. She starts to care for him - feeding him, clothing him and helping with his school-work, despite her friends having a low opinion of what Leigh-Anne is doing. She is determined not to let anyone else deter her from what she wants, and goes above and beyond the kindness of a stranger towards Michael.
What I really love about this film is the sublety with which the story is handled. Leigh-Anne's kindness isn't thrown in your face, you just accept that is exactly what she is like, and you can't help but like her for it. Michael's poor childhood doesn't feel too preachy or like we are meant to feel sorry for him, it's just facts and that's how you take it as you watch it. I feel it moved along at a good pace, and didn't stall at all. Things happened in a believable way and I really enjoyed watching the relationship between Michael and Tuohy' unfold - it was very heart-warming and lovely to watch, if only there were more Leigh Anne Tuohy's in the world! The fact this film is based on a true story makes it even more inspirational and special.
Sandra Bullock's performance as Leigh Anne Tuohy was absolutely amazing. She looks very different from her normal self with blonde hair, fake nails and a very well-to-do look, but she creates a loveable person in Leigh-Anne, you are drawn to her performance because you believe every world that comes out of her mouth, and I believe she completely deserved the Oscar that she won for this performance. I do however feel that Quinton Aaron's role of Michael Oher hasn't been praised enough - he acted Michael's painful shyness and solitude so well, he often moved me to tears. His performance was so subtle yet incredibly powerful, it was a joy to watch him and Bullock together on screen. I also loved the performance of young actor Jae Head, who plays the Tuohy's youngest son S.J. He's a bit full on and in your face, but his heart is in the right place, and Head puts in an energetic performance that has you smiling away at him.
I really can't recommend this film highly enough. I was hooked by it from the first moment it started, and in tears by the end. A wonderful touch were the real life pictures of Michael and the Tuohy's which added a real sense of occasion to the movie, and proved to us all that there are wonderfully happy endings in life. The cast, in particular Bullock, acted amazingly, and took what was already a great story and turned into a superb movie. It's heart-warming, emotional, and a perfect human drama that lifts your heart a little bit each time you see Leigh Anne's kindness to Michael, and how far a little bit of friendliness can go for a person. Truly brilliant, I recommend that everyone should see this film. I'm not even a sports fan and don't know a thing about American football, but I loved it. Simply brilliant.
Director: John Lee Hancock
Writers: John Lee Hancock, Michael Lewis (book)
Running Time: 129 minutes
Sandra Bullock ... Leigh Anne Tuohy
Tim McGraw ... Sean Tuohy
Quinton Aaron ... Michael Oher
Jae Head ... S.J. Tuohy
Lily Collins ... Collins Tuohy
Ray McKinnon ... Coach Burt Cotton
Kim Dickens ... Mrs. Boswell
Adriane Lenox ... Denise Oher
Kathy Bates ... Miss Sue
DVD is available on Amazon for £6.93 (January 2011)
Thank you for reading.
Firstly, let me begin by saying that whilst I love Sandra Bullock for her comedy film roles, the ones I revere her for the most are her more dramatic roles such as 28 days. After hearing the hype about this film (although somehow completely managing to miss it's release at the cinema), I decided it would be worth a rental, I subsequently loved the film so much I purchased my own copy!
So here is the brief plot outline (no spoilers!). The film follows the true story of the life of Michael Oher (Quinton Aaron), a black youth living in Memphis, whose mother's drug addiction has rendered her an absent parent. Michael had to sleep on couches where possible, but more often was sleeping rough wherever he could. The film doesn't delve too much into his early childhood, partially because Michael doesn't really talk about it but also because the film focusses on the Tuohy family and their involvement in Michaels life. The film depicts Leigh-Anne Tuohy (Sandra Bullock) as a feisty southern woman, married to an affluent business man with two children.
Michael attends the same school as Tuohy children and after noticing him at school Leigh stops her car whilst driving one night with her family, to question Michael on why he is walking in the rain in shorts and a t-shirt, asking him whether he has anywhere to stay and subsequently inviting him to stay the night at her house. This is possibly my favourite scene from the film, with Sandra capturing so much in that moment, including his pain, Leigh-Anne's mother instinct and ability to see worth in a child which she believes society have deemed worthless. Thus begins a long stay for Michael with the Tuohy's, where he is shown the love he has been missing, given the encouragement to develop himself emotionally, physically and educationally and finally becomes a brilliant sportsman playing American football, eventually achieving football scholarships and becoming professional player. I don't want to give too much more away about the film, although if you search for Michael Oher on google you will be able to find out more.
I truly cannot explain how powerful this film is, it captures so much emotion and exemplifies the inspiring example this family have set in how to truly be a part of this world and care for others. I highly recommend that you watch this film, I also recommend that you look on youtube for interviews with the real Leigh-Anne Tuohy because it will give a whole new look at just how well Sandra Bullock managed to capture the essence of her character. The oscar which Sandra won for this film was wholly deserved! I must also mention the impeccable acting of Quinton Aaron, who really gave insight into Michael's life and managed to display so much emotion without even speaking. The rest of the cast gave brilliant performances also, I cannot pick out a weak link in the film!
I give this film 5/5 for brilliant acting and portrayal of this beautiful story. Everyone should watch this film once in their lives.
I love Sandra Bullock in movies (Miss Congeniality, Premonition, Speed) and upon hearing her win an Oscar for this movie, I just had to see it.
~~~THOUGHTS ON PLOT~~~
This is the true story of American football player Michael Oher (Quinton Aaron) who is from a poor background, taken in by Leigh Anne Tuohy (Sandra Bullock) who treats him as her own son and guides him to obtain an education and a future he deserves. Although no one else would give Michael a second glance, Leigh Anne's faith in his character pushes her to pull all the stops to change his life, but he is also changing hers, opening her eyes to a world she will never forget.
The intrigue of the film is sustained by the reorder of scenes- the interrogation scene at the beginning definitely keeps you in your seat as you want to find out what that's about, even through the rather dull introductions of inviting Michael to the house and all the settling in parts.
When we get to the real action of the film, which is for some the football games, there is great intensity that has already built up as you grow to like the characters and feel for them. For me, the real action is whenever Sandra opens her mouth and says something witty, with "crotchface" being just one of the many retorts.
In this way, the real focus of the film isn't the football (you don't have to know much about American football to enjoy it), Michael Oher or even Leigh Anne, but the relationship this woman has with who is initially a complete stranger and the faith she puts in him despite great opposition from teachers, her friends and society as a whole. This, the film portrays excellently. The contrast between the rich and the poor- their dress, interior decor, slang etc. This point reappears at the end to draw focus away from Michael's final success and back to the main message of the story, which I really like as it gives meaning to the movie.
I also really like the inclusion of real footage and photographs at the end :)
Sandra Bullock- Leigh Anne Tuohy
Tim McGraw- Sean Tuohy
Quinton Aaron- Michael Oher
Also stars Kathy Bates, Andy Stahl and Ray McKinnon.
Sandra Bullock picked up an Oscar for her role as Leigh Anne Tuohy which is fully deserved. She had a sassy, witty and strong personality which is similar to her character in "Miss Congeniality" +25 years. Subtle expressions and extremely witty lines gave her character immediate likeability and she is someone you'd want to be friends with in real life. In this way, her portrayal is genuine and completely believable.
Quinton Aaron who plays Michael Oher had a sustained blankness at the beginning which slowly develops into a person full of character and humour. As an actor, he was definitely subtle but he didn't shine compared to Bullock.
This can be purchased for around £7 on the internet, though I can predict it being as low as £5 after Christmas. Check HMV's 2 for £10 offer.
What I'd usually describe as a drama, "The Blind Side" is instead an uplifting and touching true story. If any other actress had played the role of Leigh Anne Tuohy, I may not have liked the movie. Sandra Bullock is a star and she has the attitude that makes her lines believable and gutsy. She truly deserves her Oscar and arguably makes this film what it is. At two hours long, the time flies by.
- Cast/Credits -
- Story -
The Blind Side tells the story of Leigh Anne Tuohy who decides to adopt a down-and-out African American teenager who goes by the name of 'Big Mike'. Little is known about him and his grades are particularly poor as he finds it hard to learn but Leigh Anne is determined for him to do better for himself and become a part of their family - being that Leigh Anne's family are all skinny white people and 'Big Mike' is, as the name implies, rather large and of a different race, this doesn't go down well for some and so Mike has quite a big battle ahead of himself. What happens? you'll have to watch the movie to find out.
- More Info./Thoughts/Opinions -
This is far from an original movie, its yet another in a rather long line of movies about a down-and-out African American (or coloured person? whatever the correct term is nowadays) who is noticed by others who spot his athletic ability, or more potential but the question is, again, can he make it? yadda yadda. So yes, its not exactly covering new ground and the fact that the family who take him in are clearly upper class *ahemloadedahem* I find almost a little tacky - why would/should this not happen to a more regular family? of course its only those with money coming out of their ears that would want to 'take on' such a person(!).
However, the film itself, for what it is, ignoring the above, is pretty good. Personally, I'd describe the movie as being a mix of, say, films like Coach Carter or possibly Precious and Erin Brockovich, in terms of the mother (Leigh Anne, played by Sandra Bullock) /female figure who's determined to help him out as much as possible.
What is perhaps slightly different with this movie in comparison to others is that a moral question which is thrown in about half way to three quarters of the way through the movie, when Mike is taken aside and questioned by an attorney/lawyer with a view to ascertaining whether or not there's an ulterior motive behind his sudden adoption by a family such as the Tuohy's. After this, things take a slightly sinister turn and its clear that Leigh Anne thinks things over and has to look back at what happened with a different view.
Basically the question being posed is one of selflessness - was Mike 'taken off the street' so to speak (pardon the melodrama) for the families own gain if he were to play for the University team that had offered him a scholarship through the families own hard work to get them to become aware of him. Did Mike really want to become a football player on a longer term basis and was he being pushed or not? its not very easy to tell what he thinks, given his particularly shy and quiet personality - he barely shows any facial expressions and when Leigh Anne asks him about his past and his family life, he doesn't open up much at all, though as the movie continues and we learn more, it becomes pretty understandable why he's like that. I think its interesting the way that the movie makes the Tuohy's question their motives and also the reaction from Mike himself, it may make you see things from different points of view that you perhaps weren't expecting. At least you can't say that the movie is 100% clear cut and its good that there is this element added to it of doubt and that make the family question things plus the family side (in terms of Mikes mother and past family issues) which, while again far from original from a plot or movie side of things, it was still quite good, I felt. Also as much as the character of Mike could seem cold and uninteresting and there could be a lack of interest or even for harsh people care from the viewer, I found myself feeling more intrigued - both about his future and his past.
Of course it is a sad movie in parts and it makes you think but there are one or two light hearted moments in there as well - there's the tutor (played by Kathy Bates) that Leigh Anne hires to help Mike with his high school work as they try to increase his overall grading (I've forgotten what the precise term is, sorry) so that he may be able to study at college or university (although the father in the family, Sean, seems at one point to dismiss college stating, if I recall, some statistic that he'd heard which he felt made it clear that he'd drop out - personally it really winds me up when I hear people dismiss college - maybe its different in the US, I don't know exactly but why upper middle class people can often claim that you have to go to University and gain a degree to be successful in life annoys me - I never did and I'm not thick, right?! careful what you say - lol plus I never dropped out and it wasn't an easy ride to my two year diploma but anywhooo, this is going off track a little).
I liked how Mike interacted with the brother, S.J., who it seems was, in a way, quite excited about getting a new big (in more ways than one(!)) brother. It was nice to see how quickly he got used to him being around and like I say the way the two of them behaved or interacted in different scenes - it seemed at times like S.J. was becoming more than a brother and almost a second father to Mike as he gives him advice regarding strategies in football and one or two other things - I think Mike, who is, as I've previously said, rather hard to read, looks up to him, even though he's obviously smaller and probably a couple of years younger in age I think.
I liked that his voice becomes the narrative but not right away, only after we learn more about him, before he's questioned by the lawyer, the narrative being him reading out some of a paper he had written at school, in which he speaks his mind on the subject of courage (yes as in courage against adversity). Yes of course its cheesy but it is poignant too. I think this part of the movie signifies a turning point and again it makes you think - in a way it is quite a thought provoking movie.
Within the movie there's not only the question about motive and selflessness brought up but also the general issue of, of course, being overweight (or more the mix of being a different race to most others around and being particularly overweight, or obese). Mike is constantly referred to as 'Big Mike' for about the first half of the movie as Leigh Anne wasn't aware of his name and had to ask her daughter, Collins, what he's called on that fateful night when she decided to turn the car around and offer him a ride home but its only when Leigh Anne offers that if he wants her to know anything, if he'd please tell her more about him, to just let her know, that he finally speaks up and says that he doesn't like being called Big Mike. There's also a scene where Leigh Anne takes Mike shopping, claiming that she's going to teach him how to shop properly but she's shocked when he shows her the small selection of clothes that he has to choose from, from the clothes store in his neighbourhood (not hers). Now of course you can argue that there's an intended political message that's in movies such as this one where you could say that the movie is intended to make us think about how we look at larger, perhaps lower class people and thats, I suppose, fair enough, although if its too much of a 'pity me' message, I'm not sure I'd entirely go along with that and I don't know what other overweight people might think about that but this movie is based on a true story and I don't know that its entirely fair to say that the movie is only about someone with weight issues trying to overcome the odds and save the day (its not necessarily as simple as that). Its also sad to see the reaction that other school kids and even other football players have to him, which, inevitably, changes as he's noticed by football coaches/staff further up the chain and there's a bit of that sense of 'oh we knew he was great all along(!)' that going on, so I suppose there are the sub issues of both weight and mild bullying or more not feeling like you fit in at school, which are brought up in this movie, something which im sure alot of people could relate to on some level.
I liked the length of the movie, its not as long as, say, Erin Brockovich, I didn't feel that it was too drawn out and as much as it is at times cheesy and even somewhat predictable, it still felt very much like a well made movie, it didn't drag on too much and it wasn't as over the top as it perhaps could have been. I thought the characters were good and it was interesting to see the conversations between Leigh Anne and her husband Sean. I do wonder, thinking about it, why it tends to be the women who fight for such people as Mike - like in, again I'll say it, Erin Brockovich and other similar movies, its almost always the woman who takes the 'cause' and won't want to stop her campaign until things have changed. Of course I should point out that this movie is based on a true story, so clearly such things do happen! its good to know that women out there can be so driven and determined IMO!. We're reminded that this was at least based on a true story at the end of the movie where text and photos explain what happened with 'Big Mike' further down the road.
If your concerned that this movie is primarily about fitting in as an American football player and that there's alot of footage of the sport then don't let that put you off as it doesn't really take up much of the movie - there are a few scenes featuring football matches, indeed the title of the movie 'The Blind Side' refers to the players blind side that they always have while making a pass (the movie starts off by showing somebody watching a game and a narrative explaining the importance of one or two different players/positions within the sport) - generally though, it doesn't take up the majority of the movie and so I wouldn't say don't watch it because its partly about American football. Going back to thinking about the movie title, I suppose you could also say that it has a double meaning, not only is it in reference to the sport and the disadvantage it brings having a blind spot or blind side but also from the point of view of society, was Mike in that blind side, seen but not really thought of much by others beforehand - you could argue there's that slight double meaning at play there (whether you think thats clever or not, thats up to you).
Finally, there is, I should end this section by saying, a slight twist to the story at the end, which you'll probably be thankful for when it comes. I think thats about all I can say about this movie really, which is, I admit, a heck of a lot more than I thought I'd be able to say! Hope I didn't bore you too much lol.
- Would I Recommend It? -
Yes, I think I would recommend this, as much as its unoriginal and cheesy in parts, its definitely well made in other respects. There are one or two sub-plots, a twist or two which may take you by surprise and it is somewhat thought-provoking. I felt quite attached to the characters and I thought the cast gave good performances and the movie doesn't drag on excessively, so overall for the type of movie it is, its a good one. I can't quite bring myself to give it a full five star rating but I'm happy to give it a four star one - as long as this is 'your cup of tea' then definitely check it out.
Thank you for reading my review (even if you skim read it, I understand, its a bit long I know lol) and I hope you found it useful and thanks for any and all rates and comments. This review was originally posted on Ciao UK under the same name.
Star- Sandra Bullock
Genre- Feel good sports movie
RuN-Time - 129 minutes
Certificate - 13
Oscar - 1
I think it's fair to say that The Blindside is the first real post Obama movie, a liberal Hollywood group hug between black and white, loosely based on the true story of homelessness boy Michael Oher's rise to fame to be Left tackle for the Baltimore Ravens in 2009. Blindside bends over backwards in that awkward way white people can be around black folks to cleanse, screaming Rodney King that we can indeed 'all get along' now Barak has the keys to the 'Whitehouse', which Rodney did indeed do by marrying the now rich black juror who got him off on that infamous trial after he blew all of his compensation winnings.
A feel good sport biopic in the truest sense, The Blindside not only overcooked America's apparent new racial hierarchy but earned Sandra Bullock a surprise Best Actress Oscar for her sassy southern rich soccer mom performance, the film locations where Bullock grew up and comes from as a woman definitely helping her turn, but the familiar girl next-door nasal delivery not everybody's cup of tea. This film also awarded her the tag of the most paid female Hollywood star in 2010, £30 million in the bank, overtaking Julia Roberts, who, rather ironically, turned this role down. It's also a cleansing role that's the exact opposite to Bullocks bigoted character in the excellent 'Crash' and maybe she needed this role to correct that for her conscious and image. I really do feel that without Obama winning the Presidency I think this performance and movie would have gone unnoticed at the award ceremonies.
Sandra Bullock ... Leigh Anne Tuohy
Tim McGraw ... Sean Tuohy
Quinton Aaron ... Michael Oher
Jae Head ... S.J. Tuohy
Lily Collins ... Collins Tuohy
Ray McKinnon ... Coach Burt Cotton
Kim Dickens ... Mrs. Boswell
Adriane Lenox ... Denise Oher
Kathy Bates ... Miss Sue
Catherine Dyer ... Mrs. Smith
Sparky interior designer Leigh Anne (Sandra Bullock) wears the trousers in the Tuohey family where they live a very comfortably life in Memphis, Tennesseei in a sprawling period mansion, her ex basketball star husband Sean (Tim McGraw) and kids SJ (Jae Head), Denise (Adriane Lenox) and Collins (Lilly Collins) under the maternal thumb.
And its here we meet 17-year-old Michael Oher (Quinton Aaron), a homeless and rather gauche and awkward looking 250 pound black kid who has been abandoned by his drug addict mother and in and out of prison father. He is about to come into the life of the wholesome Tuohy family when mom Leigh Anne takes sympathy on him for his situation and gives him a bed for the night, doing her Christian duty. He is a very quiet and a simple lad and so Leigh Anne pleads with her husband to get him into their local all white Christian school, where their kids go, his surprising athletic ability the clincher for football Coach Cotton (Ray McKinnon) and the school board, despite his abysmal academic record. Oher is known for running off when school gets tough and so it's a gamble.
With no football experience and an I.Q of around 80 (in real life he was quite proficient at gridiron and a little smarter) he is soon trying out for the football (gridiron) team, but a place on condition he gets up to a 2.5 grade point average on his school work (again, in real life if they are good enough for lucrative college teams they are 'helped out' with their marks to get there) so to be able to graduate.
Now happily living with the Tuohy's, Mike clearly has sporting potential but needs the help of precious little SJ to learn the plays a left tackle needs to know, his job to protect the right-handed quarterback. He also needs extra help with the schooling and so the family hire grouchy home teacher Miss Sue (Kathy Bates) to get those grades up. But he is hard to motivate and get into the head of and it takes sassy wannabe coach mum to impress the importance of hitting guys hard who go near the QB on the blindside. One category Mike did do well on in his intelligence test is protective emotions. But can he make that 2.5 SAT score and secure his place in the school team to get noticed by the big college coaches (played by themselves in the movie) and secure that NCAA1 athletic scholarship that could lead to the majors.
It's certainly not an Oscar winning performance by Bullock, or, indeed, is it anything special as far as inspiring heart-warming sports biopic go that earned this a best film nomination. All men in the film are deliberately placid and two dimensional to give Bullock more gravitas and only little SJ gets to eat up the scenery with his exaggerated and precocious performance, very reminiscent of that annoying little kid in Jerry McGuire, another sports movie I was distinctly under-whelmed by. Director John Lee Hancock is also short on the emotion here on an interesting human story, as was the case and flaw with The Pursuit of Happyness with Will Smith, the film ending without the needed triumphant finale to actually make you feel good although I suspect the story resonates more with an American audience because they know Oher.
There are liberties taken here with Oher's story and by all-accounts he was a very experienced left tackle when the real life Tuohey family got hold of him and some say their motives to adopt the boy where just as much about giving the kid a start in life as cashing in on his obvious talent. The real places of education were not best pleased with the idea they didn't think they could educate him and asked for the real school to be dropped from post production. But Americans love this stuff and Hollywood is where dreams are made and its $300 million dollars to date is testimony to that willingness to suspend disbelief and tweak things to make a credible narrative to turn it into a fairytale rise to fame. In fact the actor, who plays Oher, Quinton Aaron, was not an actor but a mere security guard when casting got underway and actually applied for onset security details to the film. His tone death performance requires few words and so he just about gets away with it. Look out Forest Whitaker there's a new big black man in town!
The real emotion picked up on here is the Tuohey family are Republicans and Bullock every inch the Sarah Palin of the piece, the type who would rather join the Tea Party that are trying to unseat Obama than help out a homeless potential gang banger. But the real Tuohy family did so credit where credit is due and so a film here and presumably the cheque for the rights to this movie were as big as the cheque from the Baltimore Ravens.
This film is really about the fact that for working-class black Americans the only way into a good college is to be good at sport in High School. Unlike the U.K., over there university sport is huge and the major professional sports franchise like the NFL and NBA pull most of their players from the college set up, academic requirements quickly dispensed with if the kid can play, filling out 30,000 arenas at the actual colleges, and if the kids are prepared to pump up on steroids to make the physical over the intellectual weight to play pro-ball then the NFL beckons...
Imdb.com - 7.7/10.0 (44,564votes)
Metacritic.com - 53% approval rate
Rottontomatos.com - 66% approval rate